SOCAN and Air Canada Centre Go to Court?

Published: 2006-11-30
The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)was formed to have commercial outlets pay when they use copyrighted music. In Federal Court recently, they have approached the Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment Ltd., owners of Toronto's Air Canada Centre, declaring they owe them millions of dollars from tariffs on ticket sales for concerts from over the past 7 years.

"It is not the venue's obligation to pay these fees, it is the concert promoter's," said Robin Brudner, lawyer for the Air Canada Centre. "We didn't have knowledge of the non-payment until we were sued by SOCAN."

Almost two years ago, SOCAN filed a statement of claim against the Air Canada Centre for those tariff fees, but the case is still being analyzed and it may be a while before the case goes to trial.

In the meantime, SOCAN is seeking an injunction that would prevent the Air Canada Centre from holding music performances until the issue is resolved.

Canadian copyright law requires concert promoters to pay as much as 3 per cent of gross ticket sales to distribute among the composers, songwriters, lyricists and publishers who hold the rights. SOCAN administers the rights on their behalf.

SOCAN acknowledges that preventing performances at the Air Canada Centre seems extreme. "This is the last resort for us. It is not what we want to do," a spokesperson said. "We would much prefer to work with our customers."

Writer: Soul Shine Staff



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